Sometimes we feel exhausted and absolutely worn out, but we hardly notice that often all this comes from our emotional lives. What could we do about it? I would like to share some of my own experience. Who knows, you might find this will help!
Last summer I felt I could not take any more stress like I’d been facing during the renovation of our new apartment. Every day I had to face several ‘nice’ surprises from different sides: my charming Georgian workers (loving wine, feasts and women but not so much adoring their work), from daily circumstances or even from emergencies or force major. Every construction site is an epicenter of potential conflicts. But taking into account that I was going through this process in a former Soviet country and in the Caucasus multiply the difficulties by 100.
Every evening I went to bed trying not to think about what the next day might bring. Instead, I forced myself to imagine the results of my work, and to visualize the triumphant feelings at the end of my construction saga. I admit it was not easy.
Every morning I got up feeling weak, unable to go see the next potential disaster at the construction site. I decided to go running first. My path led me to the mountains and up to a lake above Tbilisi in a pleasant forest and the slopes of the famous Mtatsminda mountain.
As I ran up I felt I was dying— not having any strength or power at all. In my head I was struggling with fears that wouldn’t leave me alone— Would we be able to move into the new apartment on time or will we have to pay another month’s rent? Will the construction workers be able to make proper flooring, will they deliver the doors on time, what happens if they don’t, etc., etc. My fears also expressed themselves physically as if there were black butterflies flying towards me on my way to the lake. Every time I saw one I thought it would flutter into my face— a disgusting perspective!
I kept running, concentrating on breathing, trying to time my inhales and my exhales. All thoughts of physical or mental problems I put aside by will power. I said to myself: “Let’s get up to the lake where it’s flat and it will all be easier!” Indeed, running around the lake was much more fun, though I didn’t like thinking of doing it too long. I just was running, trying not to think about what I wanted and what I didn’t want. Why do this? Who cares about what I want anyway? So I decided not to care either.
My discussion with myself went like this: “Let’s do some exercise instead!” “What? What exercise, are you kidding? You should know I’m on the verge of dying! Don’t you know I am not able to use any muscles of my body anymore, including my own brain! I’m too tired, do you understand?” “Then just exercise without thinking about your pain!” “How? Can’t you understand? I am tired, tired to death!” “Nobody is tired to death! They just think they are!” So after once around the lake (approx. 1, 000 m) I stopped at a fitness point to do some push-ups. I did maybe 15, feeling totally exhausted by the end. “I can’t do any more!” “Just try as many as you manage. But don’t give up!” Indeed, I managed five more, then ran another lap around the lake. Finally there were abdominal exercises on my program. “I have done fifty, have you noticed— I am about to break down!” “Guess, how much more you can do? Bring yourself to the edge of your strength! Check how you can do more!” I continued, stunned that fifty more were possible by the end! Incredible! Now, I was having more and more fun! I added one more lap, adding more challenges— more and more and more.
Oh gosh! I really began to feel I was strong! I was not trying to bring myself into a state of exhaustion, I just wanted to learn about my own limits. By doing this, I saw that my real limits are much greater than I’d imagined! I was transformed into a fighter. I kicked my legs forward and to the sides like karate fighters, but I didn’t visualize the troublesome construction workers standing in front of me as my victims. Instead, I thought only of all the difficulties I was facing. I didn’t feel led by anger, but collected all my will into my solar plexus, my manipura chakra, and tried to break down all my barriers.
Doing this, I fought not against anybody—but for myself. All this helped a lot. Day by day I gained more confidence and assurance about my ability to finish my project. And so I did. Today we live in a nice new apartment and the ‘nightmare’ of my former construction-site-summer has become a funny memory… it’s also a study of the regional mentality and most of all, a study of myself, of the potential of my body and mind.
Often we don’t recognize— or we just forget —how strong our bodies are and what enormous amount of abilities we all have. Through challenging our bodies with sports and yoga we shift and broaden our own limits. Body and mind are closely related. Thank God we have our bodies—otherwise how much more difficult it would be to tame our minds!
Tbilisi, July 27, 2014